Isdore Guvamombe in Durban, South Africa
Zimbabwe, which has a record 51 companies exhibiting at the African Travel Indaba in Durban South Africa, has become an unprecedented hive of activity as tourist wholesalers, buyers, investors and tour operators from across the spectrum, flock to seek investment, travel and tourism opportunities amid heightened investor interest under the new dispensation.
At no stage in history has Zimbabwe taken that big number of companies to Indaba, the highest being 19 in 2017, but this year the figure has grown to 51, forcing a spillage that has seen many companies exhibiting outside the main stand that can only accommodate 32 companies.
Both the main stand and the individual stands dotted all over the Indaba have become a hive of activity with many companies inquiring about the country’s vast array of tourist attractions, saying they had confidence in the new political dispensation, under the ellipsis, “Zimbabwe is Open for Business.”
In an interview yesterday Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira said she was overwhelmed by the response that in itself is an endorsement of the new dispensation’s mantra that Zimbabwe is now open for business.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed by the response. We have never had such a huge response from both our side as exhibitors to the point of brining 51 companies and those seeking to do business with us. Our stand is host to 32 companies but we have many others outside the main stand like Africa Sun and Africa Albida Tourism. This is an overwhelming response. It has never happened in the history of Zimbabwe.
“This is a great endorsement for the new dispensation in Zimbabwe and you can see by the excitement it has generated,’’ said Cde Mupfumira, who has been holding marathon meetings with potential investors and tourist sellers, foreign government officials and fellow ministers from other countries throughout the day right into the night, ever since she came on Monday.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke said Zimbabwe was back in the world tourism matrix.
“We were finished but we are back with a bang. The new political dispensation has made it possible for the industry to be back.
“In the past, we found it hard to market the brand Zimbabwe.
“The new dispensation has changed the investment rules and everyone has turned to Zimbabwe.
“We need to improve on our holding capacity because soon we will struggle to meet demand,’’ said Dr Kaseke.
Africa Indaba Travel and Tourism Exposition is a prime travel and tourism exhibition where captains of industry, tourist wholesalers, buyers and exhibitors from throughout the world meet annually in Durban, has become the best meeting place for business over the years.